By JOE GONILLO

Seriously. The groundhog sees his stinkin’ shadow. Great. More winter, thanks a lot. Sorry skiers. February sports action is heating up, despite the weather, for all our high school teams. The end of the regular season is creeping up making games more important down the stretch. I also covered a wedding down in Charleston, SC last weekend…interesting story below.

There was plenty of white stuff on the ground at Smuggler’s Notch, where Essex alpine hosted the Essex Carnival over the weekend. Here are the team scores from the event: Harwood (127), MMU (211), Rice (259), BFA St. Albans (315), Essex (470), LHS (550) and CHS (576.) Friday’s GS winners were Gretchen Kogut of Harwood, with a time of 1:03.51, and Noah Williams of Harwood who clocked in at 58.08. Saturday’s Slalom winners were Sarah Boland of Rice (1:05.03) and Jack Hayden of MMU (59.92).

Put this in your phones: Pink Zone Girls Basketball Games are this Friday, Feb. 9. EHS and the Jean Robinson Court host the event, and the game schedule has ADL vs. EMS at 4:30 p.m., EHS JV vs. South Burlington at 6 p.m. and EHS varsity vs. SBHS at 7:30 p.m. The cheer teams from EMS, ADL and EHS are also participating in the event. All of the money raised by the athletes, and at the game itself, are donated to the Breast Care Center at UVMMC. Luckily, Sara Arden is back at the organizational helm; come out to support the teams and a great cause.

The girls’ varsity basketball team played their most exciting game of the season in a 59-54 2OT loss to CVU last week. They followed up that game with a sparkling performance in a much-needed, tough 49-43 win over BFA St. Albans. The W broke a five-game losing streak. They dropped the Cougars with a score of 67-48 behind Sarah Colter’s game-high 15; Kylie Acker and Emmalee Smith added 14. At 8-6 they have six games left before playoffs and are making their move now. The JV squad improved to 12-2 with wins over BFA and MMU. They are having a great season.

Our boys’ varsity basketball team is 3-9 after a close 58-53 loss to the Red Hawks and another to the Wolves. The first one was in doubt to the very end when CVU pulled it out. The JV team is 8-4 following two losses last week to CVU and SB. It’s Rice and Burlington this week.

The Girls’ JV-B hoop team continued their unbeaten season with two more wins and is now 11-0. The girls dispatched NCUHS and CVU, and have games vs. Rutland and NCUHS this week. The freshman boys are red hot after they extended their winning streak to nine games with two more big wins over the Lakers and BFA. This week they host Rutland and participate in the BFA tourney over the weekend. They are now a sparkling 12-1.

The wrestlers continue to have success this winter. Last week they traveled to VHS and chalked up two mid-week wins over Mt. Abraham and Vergennes. In Turner Falls, Mass., the Hornets shutout Athol by a score of 69-0; beat Frontier handily 48-25, and defeated Franklin Tech 53-21 but fell 40-33 to West Springfield. They have a big NVAC match Saturday at the EHS gym.

After splitting their games this week, our boys’ varsity hockey owns a 10-3 mark. They extended their winning streak to seven games with a 10-1 slashing of U-32, but that streak ended with Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the unbeaten BFA Bobwhites. Ryan Young scored twice and Sam Foster stopped twelve shots. They will be back on the ice against Spaulding and SB this week.

The girls’ hockey upped their winning streak to seven games with 3-1 wins over both SHS and Middlebury. At 10-3, and ranked second in the state, they will play MIDD again and have a big date vs. BFA. This past Saturday in their win over the Tigers Maddy Young, Abby Robbins and Olivia Miller-Johnson all scored with OM-J and Young notching assists. Hannah Barrett added two assists and it was all complemented by Sophie Forcier 17 stopped shots.

The gymnastic team dominated MIDD last week 132.3–113.85.  Check out the highlights in the varsity scoreboard! The Hornets host the Rutland high school Ghosts on Wednesday.

The track and field team had a throwing competition in St. Johnsbury at the Academy on Saturday. Breyer Sinor won shot (39’5”) and the weight throw (57’7”).

Nordic skiers on the snow Saturday in St. Albans at Hard’ack. Last week EHS sophomore Charles Martell took third at the Tour de Chittenden.

The bowlers took the winner’s circle for the second week in a row Saturday. EHS was followed by Fair Haven, RUHS, and BHS. Makenna Thorne and Emily Harvey bowled strong games and frames! Two matches remain before individual and team state championships. Hartford hosts the Hornets, FH, and BHS.

Super Bowl was as exciting a game as I have ever seen. Congrats to the Eagles. Actually, I spent most of the evening with what was left of the Bechtel – Coleman wedding at the King St. Public House in Charleston, S.C. Had a ton of fun celebrating my N.Y. Giants-loving nephew, Nate Bechtel, as he married Amelia Coleman, a Vt. gal. I volunteered to cover the event, of course. I had met the bride years ago at the groom’s dad and mom’s lake mansion in Colchester one Sunday evening when I was invited over to watch the Cowboys beat the G-men. Anyway, this attractive young woman comes in with a group of friends wearing an Eli Manning jersey – Brother! Little did I know she would be my future neice. At the night-before gathering, Amelia introduced me to her step-dad; a man with EJ and ER connections, my old boss from the 80’s and probably 90’s Warren Baker. I believe he was doing an outstanding job running this newspaper when I was first hired in ’88. Headquarters used to be in a second floor office above what is now Martone’s. Warren now runs the writing department at Champlain College, and he wrote a beautiful poem for the newlyweds and read it at the ceremony. Touching. Other dignitaries present were Ethan Bechtel CFO of OhMD, Alex “Scoop” Abrami of the BFP, Junction native Larry Kimble, Stacey Davis, Don Hathaway, business entrepreneur Bob Futon and a very special video tribute to the happy couple from none other than Bill Murray (check out FB for the clip)! I also ran into two lovely, former students, Kelly Morin and Chelsea Crucitti.

Happy Birthday Kristin Hathaway Peet former Hornet FH and TF all-star; former Downpour guitarist Bob Recupero, Mark Kirby, Kristina Teachout Cismoski, Leslie Wall, politician V Chase, Cheryl Wilder Fitzgerald, Walt Latrell, Tim “800m” Stratford, Ted O’Lear, Rob Molina and Jason Nokes. Happy 39th Anniversary to indoor center chief Hank “Liverpool” Bechtel and his much better half, Sandy. Remembering our mom, Rosemary, who would have been 81 on Monday.